Coldest City in the United States
For coldest weather, Minneapolis tops the list of America's 56 largest urban centers. The metropolitan region, which also takes in St Paul, Minnesota, has the most days a year of below–zero weather and the lowest average annual temperature. The next coldest city, Milwaukee, lags a long ways behind Minneapolis on all measures.
The only city to surpass Minneapolis on a cold metric is Denver, which averages nine more days a year that don't heat up to above freezing. But overall, Denver is considerably warmer, with far fewer days of extreme cold, and a much higher mean temperature.
These ratings listed below of coldest cities use long-term temperature averages, based on weather data collected from 1991 to 2020 for the US National Centers for Environmental Information. The major cities included in these weather rankings represent the 56 metropolitan areas in the United States with the most people, all those with over one million residents in 2020, according to the US Census Bureau.
Most American cities can expect to never reach zero degrees Fahrenheit. For seven major cities weather that cold is uncommon, showing up on average just once or twice a year. But for several cities, severe cold is a fact of life for more than a few days a year. Minneapolis stands out for its frequency of exceptionally frigid nights, as it is the only major city to experience more than ten nights a year of negative temperatures.
These are the large US cities where the temperature usually drops to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 °Celsius) or below each year. These cities are also the only ones to average four or more days a year below 11 °F.
|Buffalo, New York||4||18|
|Grand Rapids, Michigan||4||19|
|Kansas City, Missouri||4||15|
|Rochester, New York||4||19|
|Providence, Rhode Island||1||8|
|Salt Lake City, Utah||1||6|
|St. Louis, Missouri||1||7|
City links take you to more detailed information on temperatures for that location. You can also view a summary of temperature averages for all major US cities and city temperatures in recent years and a complete list of America's 56 largest urban centers.
Most Freezing Days
Most of the cities that do go below zero often have days when the temperature stays in freezing territory for the entire day. These 16 American cities have 100 or more days a year when their temperature doesn't warm up above 32 °F.
|Rochester, New York||129|
|Buffalo, New York||124|
|Salt Lake City, Utah||112|
|Providence, Rhode Island||109|
|Kansas City, Missouri||107|
Plenty of cold days and nights adds up to a low annual average temperature. For these 13 large US cities, the daily mean temperature, averaged for the year, is less than 53 °F.
|City||Mean °F||Mean °C|
|Buffalo, New York||48.9||9.4|
|Grand Rapids, Michigan||49.4||9.6|
|Rochester, New York||49.5||9.7|
|Providence, Rhode Island||52.1||11.2|
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Climate Normals.